Millennials Share their Experiences of 'Coming Out of the Closet' During the 80s and 90s

Many millennials from different fields shared their stories of coming out in a time where society wasn't as inclusive as it is today.

Millennials Share their Experiences of 'Coming Out of the Closet' During the 80s and 90s
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @ozzymo

Coming out of the closet can be hard for any individual. The process can make you feel vulnerable. The society is becoming more accepting these days. This was not the situation when the millennials were coming out. They had a much harder time dealing with a prejudiced, heteronormative society, reports TODAY.

Society reacted aggressively towards the LGBTQIA community, and millennials are now recollecting their memories of coming out during those days. Dewayne Perkins, an actor, comedian, and writer, came out in high school. The thought of being disowned by his family worried him. He started by sending a text in a group chat with his four sisters.n "I had absorbed so many horror stories about coming out. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gay.’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense', and I was like, ‘Excuse me, um what?’," he said.

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He was totally taken aback by the reactions he received. He wrote a letter to his mother explaining and forgot to tell his father. His father also reacted very calmly to it. Looking back at this, Perkins said: “So, me coming out and living my truth was kind of in line with the person they already knew me to be. My whole life I’ve been constantly told what a man is supposed to be and then when I came out, I didn’t have any ‘journey,’ there was no direction. So, I had the freedom to create what I wanted for my life.”

“I just saw so many versions of people trying to fit into the box that didn’t seem happy. These people are doing this thing that I’m being told to do, yet they’re not happy. I don’t think I was put on earth to force people to love me. I think my job is to find the people who do, then continue to (build) those relationships,” he added. Another person who shared her experience was Isis King. She described coming out as “vocalizing who you are” to the world.” She also battled imposter syndrome.

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Recalling the process, she said: “Do everything with vigilance and your safety in mind. Sometimes it’s important to map it out, to find your tribe, to find your safe space, to find people who are going to be supportive and protective of you as you make these decisions.”

Actor Oscar Montoya, explains it as “taking out the itchy sweater.” He said that people always talked to him as if he were gay. “I didn’t really understand why people were saying these things about my sexual preference when I wasn’t sexually active, you know, It kind of does a number on you psychologically,” he said.

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Recollecting the memories of that phase of his life, he added: “The people that raised me, that have seen me grow up, couldn’t accept my simple truth, so it just made me really focus on the magic of found family.” Zac Amenet, co-CEO of Westwind Recovery explains it as his biggest strength. He was a teenager when he came out. “It was Los Angeles in the ‘90s, and things seemed to be very liberal around me, so I didn’t have many role models to look up to who was gay.

Lots of gay figures around me, like people on TV or in movies, were normally cast as comedic figures. And I figured that I would have to keep my identity a secret,” he said. He recalls his journey and said: “You need to live life authentically or else you’re not going to be giving the world what you were put on this world to get.” For Ayesha Harris, it was a “liberating moment.” She came out when she was 19 years of age.

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Remembering the day she came out, she said: “I remember going back to my room and dancing. I turned the music on and started to dance. I was in love at the time. I remember calling her and telling her and us being so excited. It was this moment that was going to happen.”